A Saudi Magazine’s Enthusiastic Report on Arabs in the IDF

July 27 2022

A recent article in the Saudi Arabian monthly Al Majalla—which appeared in both the Arabic- and English-language editions—observes the rising number of Druze, Christian, and Muslim Israelis who choose to enlist in their country’s military. Drawing on interviews with several such men and women, the author, Suzan Quitaz, writes:

“Why did I decide to enlist?” asks Sergeant Sami Heib, a twenty-year-old Bedouin who has been with the IDF over two years, “Because this is my homeland, I am part of this country, and I want to contribute.” He continued, saying that “many relatives of mine already serve in the IDF and my parents support my decision and are very proud of me.” He told Al Majalla that the IDF made him feel at home.

The coronavirus crisis did play a significant role in helping the IDF to gain more recruits and to be perceived differently by the Arab public in Israel. [A senior IDF officer from the manpower directorate] explains why: “During the pandemic, IDF soldiers were deployed to deliver food and medicine to elderly and sick people. They took part in the coronavirus awareness campaigns and later helped with setting up vaccine centers and so on. . . . You can say the fear factor was broken, as people were able to see with their own eyes how tirelessly the IDF was working to look after all residents of Israel.”

After quoting several Arab enlistees enthusiastic about their service—including the first Muslim woman to attain the rank of major in the IDF—the article cites the disapproval of the Arab Knesset member Hanin Zoabi, who claims that Arabs only join because they “are poor and have no work.” Quitaz is not convinced:

Al Majalla asked Hassan Kaabia to comment on MK Zoabi’s assertion. Kaabia is an Israeli Arab and a former lieutenant colonel who served in the IDF for over two decades and currently works as the spokesman for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This is what he had to say: “The IDF is the only institution where there is no discrimination and there is total equality and inclusion. It is not true that they are joining because of economic factors. The majority of Israeli Arabs who join the army are doing it because of one reason and that is they want to be part of the state.”

Mr. Kaabia’s son, Captain Asaf, decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and joined the IDF a few years ago. MK Zoabi’s argument about only “poor men with no jobs” gets even thinner when you consider that Mohammed Zoabi, her very close relative, joined the IDF.

Read more at Al Majalla

More about: Druze, IDF, Israeli Arabs, Saudi Arabia

Iran’s Four-Decade Strategy to Envelope Israel in Terror

Yesterday, the head of the Shin Bet—Israel’s internal security service—was in Washington meeting with officials from the State Department, CIA, and the White House itself. Among the topics no doubt discussed are rising tensions with Iran and the possibility that the latter, in order to defend its nuclear program, will instruct its network of proxies in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, and even Iraq and Yemen to attack the Jewish state. Oved Lobel explores the history of this network, which, he argues, predates Iran’s Islamic Revolution—when Shiite radicals in Lebanon coordinated with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s movement in Iran:

An inextricably linked Iran-Syria-Palestinian axis has actually been in existence since the early 1970s, with Lebanon the geographical fulcrum of the relationship and Damascus serving as the primary operational headquarters. Lebanon, from the 1980s until 2005, was under the direct military control of Syria, which itself slowly transformed from an ally to a client of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The nexus among Damascus, Beirut, and the Palestinian territories should therefore always have been viewed as one front, both geographically and operationally. It’s clear that the multifront-war strategy was already in operation during the first intifada years, from 1987 to 1993.

[An] Iranian-organized conference in 1991, the first of many, . . . established the “Damascus 10”—an alliance of ten Palestinian factions that rejected any peace process with Israel. According to the former Hamas spokesperson and senior official Ibrahim Ghosheh, he spoke to then-Hizballah Secretary-General Abbas al-Musawi at the conference and coordinated Hizballah attacks from Lebanon in support of the intifada. Further important meetings between Hamas and the Iranian regime were held in 1999 and 2000, while the IRGC constantly met with its agents in Damascus to encourage coordinated attacks on Israel.

For some reason, Hizballah’s guerilla war against Israel in Lebanon in the 1980s and 1990s was, and often still is, viewed as a separate phenomenon from the first intifada, when they were in fact two fronts in the same battle.

Israel opted for a perilous unconditional withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000, which Hamas’s Ghosheh asserts was a “direct factor” in precipitating the start of the second intifada later that same year.

Read more at Australia/Israel Review

More about: First intifada, Hizballah, Iran, Palestinian terror, Second Intifada